JIS News

A Special Parliamentary Group (SPG), which was convened to review the submissions of the Parliamentary Salaries Committee on ‘Parliamentarians Pay and Conditions of Service’, has adopted 28 to the 40 recommendations, including the proposal that Parliamentarians should receive no increases in salary until 2006.
The group, chaired by Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies, also agreed that there should be a discontinuation in the link between the salaries of Permanent Secretaries and Cabinet Ministers; the payment of a taxable allowances be made to the Leaders of Business (Government and Opposition) in both Houses of Parliament; and that Parliamentarians’ compensation should be subject to taxation in an identical manner to the private citizen.
As contained in a Ministry Paper tabled by Dr. Davies yesterday (Nov. 9) in the House of Representatives, the SPG also consented to an annual leave provision for Ministers of three weeks each year; no change being made in emoluments paid to a Minister drawn from the Senate; and the development and implementation of an intern programme for Parliament. The group however, raised objections to some of the recommendations, such as the discontinuation of an un-funded pension scheme for Members of Parliament (MPs); that Parliamentarians should receive the same entitlement for death benefits as is applicable to those in the civil service; and that MPs must be obliged to publicly declare the source of all income and benefits earned by them as well as their major assets.
The 11-member SPG, which comprised members of both sides of the House, was assigned to assess the report of the Oliver Clarke-led Parliamentary Salaries Committee and make their own recommendations. The committee was convened by Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson on February 4, 2003, with the objective of assessing the job of Parliamentarians, and making recommendations in respect to the salaries, allowances, and terms and conditions of the work of the MPs.
The Committee was given eight terms of reference to carry out its functions, and reported that it looked carefully at the differences between the Executive and the Legislature and at the resources that both arms of government commanded.

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